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5 Minute Bible

This is a series of podcasts, relating to the academic and Christian reading of the Bible. They are all around 5 minutes in length. I am a teacher of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament who for most of the last two decades has worked both in a secular University and in a denominational seminary.

These recordings aim to bring the two parts of my professional life together, in a way that is useful to thinking Christians, pastors and theological students.

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bible
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E100
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narrative
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biblical studies
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5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
audio
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Typescene sounds like a typical technical term scholars use make Bible stories dull :( In this podcast I hope to show you it's exactly the opposite and that by spending 5 minutes learning about typescenes you can discover a livelyness you may have missed, even in a well-loved story like Ruth. (Other passage you should have ready, or look at before listening are: Genesis 24; 29 & Exodus 2:15ff..)
Topics: Exodus, Genesis, Narrative, Ruth
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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How do we picture Scripture? That is what is/are the (unconscious) models in our heads as we read and use the Bible? This âcast refers particularly to Gen 18:20ff. and Amos 7.
Topics: bible, amos, genesis, reading, interpretation
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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Juxtaposition: putting things together to make something "more than the sum of the parts" is a common artistic skill, it is common (but often unrecognised) in the Bible. As my least favourite book of the Bible helps reveal!
Topics: isaiah, jonah, obadiah, bible
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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In What is the Bible (Part 1) I talked of the Bible as witness, and mentioned stories where Abraham and Amos haggle with God, and ended with a reference to arguing with God in the Bible. Here I'll begin to explore Jeremiahâs side of the conversation from Jer 12:1-4 (we'll get to God's reply later!)
Topics: bible, arguing with god, Jeremiah, complaint, lamentation, lament, genre
5 Minute Bible
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So, here's the second part of the Jonah series. This time we focus on 1:3. Again we end with a question - but at least the right question is better than the wrong answer!
Topics: bible, jonah, genre
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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The first reading in a series covering the 100 essential Bible readings, contains Genesis 1-2. The 50 passages from each Testament together give an overview of the whole Bible. Today we begin at the beginning with the first teo chapters of Genesis. I also dealt with Genesis 1 in a previous post. By the way there is a reading of the passage (if you want to hear rather than see it on PodBible.com). There is an RSS feed for the E100 series only.
Topics: bible, genesis, prologue
5 Minute Bible
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Since this is a gripping, but well-known, story what I'll try to do in this podcast is show you how a bit of context (see here for more on context and understanding the Bible ). I'll also tell you God's two nicknames, in some religious traditions knowing all a god's names is really important, in Hinduism the god Vishnu has 1,000 names, in Islam there is a tradition that God has 99 names. Yahweh the God the Bible talks about has kicknames as well as formal names! A couple of photos to illustrate...
Topics: 1 Kings, elijah, mt carmel, biblical, narrative, bible study
5 Minute Bible
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This week's readings contain a sample of Jesus teachings. In reading them we will notice two things particularly that will help us better understand: (a) Jesus is a prophet: so the rules we learnt for reading Old Testament prophets will help us understand Jesus. These rules were: Prophets spoke to a context: knowing the who, what, when, where, how & why can help us get the point. Prophetic speech is often a conversation. Prophets are about conversion (not prediction). (b) Jesus taught...
Topics: Jesus, Matthew, gospel, gospels, parables, teaching, Jesus teaching
5 Minute Bible
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Malachi is a short prophetic book, the name Malachi just means "my messenger" which seems to be what the speaker calls himself. It has no more details of time, place or person in the superscription (as most prophetic books do), but the content suggests Judah after the exile under Persian rule. The book opens opens with a strong statement of Yahweh's election of Israel, using hyperbole (exageration) to make it's impact. "Malachi" accuses his audience of being willing to obey...
Topics: prophet, prophecy, Malachi, Bible, Old Testament
5 Minute Bible
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In this podcast, before looking at the passages selected for week 4, Iâll do a quick overview of what I think we should have noticed from Genesis (a sort of 30 second recap of weeks 1-3 ;) Then Iâll try to set the scene for week 4, which covers the story of the Exodus. Phrasing it that way though is perhaps not the best summary of Exodus 1-18. After listening to my podcast maybe you can suggest a better one?
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, theology, slavery
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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It is certainly one of my favourite Bible passages, indeed it is many people's favourite Bible chapter. Isaiah 40 is just full of superb phrases and pictures. Whenever it was composed, this chapter really comes to life and sparkles when it is heard as the Judean exiles in Babylon heard, it just before Cyrus the Persian king captured the city. For a better idea of the background watch the Video " Babylon as background to hearing Isaiah 40 " (4MB).
Topics: history, isaiah, bible, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
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This chapter focuses on Joshua taking over from Moses, now that (at the end of Deuteronomy) Moses is dead and gone (though no one except God) saw him die. In the reading we learn a lot about how the Bible views leadership, and it does not easily fit with any of our modern, well-worn patterns. Thank God! We also (not coincidentally) learn about cooperation among God's people.
Topics: Joshua, Bible, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
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An unheard of miracle that foreshadows the spread of the gospel to all the world and the fellowship that transcends frontiers and cultures. Like in Joel everyone receives Godâs Spirit, young as well as old, women and men alike, slave and free, the Spirit bursts all human categories. Indeed death could not hold him down â Jesus lives in his people, the work continues! Is it now you'll begin to reign? Yes, but not in a tawdry political kingdom. Jesus is lord and Messiah (king), not by popular...
Topics: Acts, E100, Holy Spirit, pentecost
5 Minute Bible
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This is a chapter of parables. Remember parabole (Greek) or mashal (Hebrew) means a comparison, so ask ourselves whatâs the point of comparison here? One clue is to look at the numbers (no, Iâll not be getting into numerology ;) Another, Jesus gives us himself. And a third comes from noticing where the climax of the story comes. Out of these clues weâll find that the Prodigal Son is not about the prodigal son, or even primarily about his forgiving fatherâ¦
Topics: E100, Jesus, Luke, parables
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
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Romans is a long letter, and the divisions between "sections" are often not clear. So the end of the opening greeting is not obvious somewhere in Rom 1:14-17, but where? Nor is it clear that the division between Rom 1 and Rom 2 is in the right place. [ Remember that chapter divisions were only added to the biblical text in the middle ages. ] But Romans is packed full of crucial theology. [ Pun intended ;) ] Paulâs manifesto (Rom 1:16) sets up the book, and he continues to argue,...
Topics: E100, Romans, Paul, epistle to the romans
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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This chapter is the beginning of the Bible, and beginnings are important. We learn why the world was made, and how God is "different". Among other structural details we will notice is this one (the diagramme may help as you listen): Day Creation Day Creation One Light Four Luminaries Two Water and Sky Five Birds and Sea Creatures Three Land and Vegetation Six Land animals (inc. Humans)
Topics: bible, creation, genesis, structure
5 Minute Bible
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Stephen suggested I do a 'cast about the Babel story, so here it is :) a first 'cast about Babel. In this one I'll begin with points of view and language. Since this will have to be a series we'll follow up from there later! For more about " point of view " and " frames " you could see my Introduction to Narrative and Narrative Poetics which is not as technical as it may sound!
Topics: genesis, narrative, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
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This podcast is aimed at real beginners in biblical study and addresses why multiple contexts are important for reading/hearing texts, particularly the Bible.
Topics: bible, context, interpretation, reading, culture, genesis psalms
5 Minute Bible
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This reflection focuses on two things from this reading, the significance of calling Israel (in the context of making a covenant) a priestly kingdom and a holy nation, and how we should read/understand the ten commandments. (For that part it may help to listen to some of the podcasts here, in particular Casuistic and apodictic: part 1: What the terms mean.) We'll also end by realising what it means to say Yahweh is a jealous God, and very briefly start thinking about what that jealousy means....
Topics: exodus, law, ten commandments
5 Minute Bible
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Yes, like some of the Bible writers, I just can't resist a pun, especially if it really does help carry the message :) And in this case I think it does, more specifically after we have noticed quickly some of the good stuff in the famous David and Goliath story of David and Goliath. For this podcast, perhaps as homework, you might want to play with a computer Bible... and you might also want to return to the comments, and discuss the vexed question of the nature of blasphemy against the Holy...
Topics: 1 Samuel, Narrative, biblical narrative, Matthew, pun
5 Minute Bible
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Peter gets some powerful lines in these two great chapters :) Since I was a child Iâve loved his: "I donât have silver and gold, but what I do have Iâll give you. Get up and walk!" So different from what we usually hear⦠And then when faced by the authorities he talks about his Master as the "Stone the builders rejected" quoting Ps 118:22. This superb Psalm all through contrasts human power and "protection" with God's steadfast love that endures forever... So...
Topics: Acts, Jesus, Psalms
5 Minute Bible
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Paul's summarises the Old Testament story from a Jewish-Christian perspective as a world looking for a saviour. Then John showed that still "today" not just in ancient times people are looking for a saviour. Jesus not only died, but rose, and this is the keeping of God's ancient promises. In Jesus God fills out, fully, the hopes and promises of the past. In Jesus, we are set free from sin - sin is not a trendy term today, but we still suffer from living in a world that is wrong. The...
Topics: E100, Acts, Paul, Sin
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
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Everyone loves a good miracle story, the Infomercials are full of them, buy this exercise machine use it just 10 minutes a day and be instantly sexually attractive, sleep on our special magnets and your pain will go away and you'll feel 30 years younger. Infomercial miracles sell things: it worked for me, you buy one! I'll have what she's having ;) But despite the temptation for Christians to use them in the same way, in the gospels it's a bit different! We still love a good miracle, but their...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Luke gospels, miracles
5 Minute Bible
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As it does in Luke, Matthew's account the feeding of the 5,000 follows after Herod speculating that Jesus is John come back to life, but Matthew used this opportunity to tell the gruesome story of John's death. Luke moved quickly from Johnâs death, to tell of the disciples' successful mission, whereas Matthew tell us that when Jesus heard of Johnâs death he "withdrew to a deserted place". Into this low point where we seem focused on the powerful political opposition that miracle...
Topics: Jesus, Matthew, miracles, E100
5 Minute Bible
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The last reading last week about the ascension of Jesus to heaven explained that soon the Spirit would come. The disciples might not know all the secrets of God (as religions forever claim to do), but they will experience and share God's power. Then in the first reading this week we move from the ascension to Pentecost, foreshadowing the spread of the gospel to everyone, each in their own language. God's Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus bursts free, and reigns! But it was not the almost magical...
Topics: Acts, E100, NT, holy spirit, spirit
5 Minute Bible
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Clay vessels were everywhere, plates, bowls, cups, storage, cooking... most of the everyday objects we make of glass or china, and many we make of plastic (or even metal) were clay pottery in the ancient world. Living back then you were deeply (and probably unconsciously) aware of just how fragile standard clay pots are. We live in a world of bone china and hardened glass. Even the average cheap dinnerset is so much tougher than an ancient pot, and the broken pieces of pottery were everywhere....
Topics: 1&2 Corinthians, E100, clay pots, broken pots
5 Minute Bible
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What's a little miracle among friends? Yet Jesus seems to avoid performing one that would have saved his friends great pain, only to perform a greater one! And then there's the ominous clouds gathering that by the end of the chapter foretell the storm to follow. Noticing some detail of how John tells this great sign we will learn more about reading Bible stories, and about trusting/believing in Jesus...
Topics: E100, Jesus, John, miracles
5 Minute Bible
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In this podcast I’ll introduce the idea of the ending of John as a sphragis , and very briefly mention what that might mean for reading John’s gospel, but most of the time will be spent on the much less technical question of why I am convinced that Jesus rose from death and met with the disciples - because after all this passage is about the resurrection, and not about the technical details (however fascinating to biblical scholars ;)
Topics: E100, Jesus, NT Acts, ascension, Jesus, resurrection
5 Minute Bible
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In part two we get drawn to the hymn in Phil 2 and discover not only what Jesusâ disscension is all about, but also get to understand the talk of us being gifts in Eph 4:11-13 better. (If you have not listened to part 1 do listen to that first .)
Topics: context, ephesians, Jesus, philippians, Reading
5 Minute Bible
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In this Iâll tell you how I think Jesus offers the key to how we should understand the casuistic laws of the Old Testament. Itâs simple, but as Iâll go on to show in later âcasts profound. The clue is found in a passage weâve looked at before (Matt 5) especially in Matt 5:17-22. (See here for that âcast , and here for a whole sermon ;) .
Topics: Jesus, Law, Matthew, Reading, bible, casuistic, apodictic, genre
5 Minute Bible
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Proverbs are pithy sayings. Short, thought-provoking, often using vivid imagery proverbs work by making you think. But they are often used as a source of quick simple answers. The book of Proverbs is a collkection of loads of such sayings with a long preface and short epilogue that encourage young men to meditate on this advice. The goal of Proverbs is lives lived well. A proverb can be applied like a Band Aid to appropriate situations, BUT their greatest value is when you meditate them. So...
Topics: bible, proverbs, wisdom, proverb
5 Minute Bible
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The distinction between casuistic and apodictic formulations of "legal" material in the Bible, seems like a prime example of scholarship which has lost touch with the needs of real Bible readers. Not least the abstruse technical language puts people off. Yet this distinction has deeply theological consequences, and Jesus seems to "fulfill" OT law (at least in part) by rephrasing the casuistic as apodictic. In this first part I'll begin the boring stuff, and introduce what...
Topics: Jesus, Law, Matthew, Reading, bible, casuistic, apodictic, genre
5 Minute Bible
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Matthew has introduced Jesus, giving his genealogy, linking him to the story of God's chosen people in particular to David the great king (messiah) and Abraham the ancestor (patriarch) whom God first chose and blessed to be the blessing of the rest of humanity, and four really interesting women. He has told the birth, with a focus on kingship (messiah) and opposition (Herrod's massacre of innocents). The escape to and return from Egypt â as well as being Messiah Jesus recapitulates Israel....
Topics: Jesus, Matthew, gospel, gospels, incarnation
5 Minute Bible
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The first four verses of Luke set up some expectations for the Gospel. Luke tells us he cares about history and evidence, uses posh Greek words some used by historians (especially Jewish history), yet by naming Theophilus and his use of the first person (I) he also sends other signals. This is history but personal, Greek, but embedded in Judaism and especially Scripture. Then the chapter continues with a string of echoes of the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus birth grows out of the Old...
Topics: Luke, Jesus, Luke 1
5 Minute Bible
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This is the first part of a short series (it might only be two parts, who knows ;) on passages where God exegetes his own words. In this part we'll look at 2 Samuel 7, where David wants to build a "house" = temple for God, since he already has a nice "house" = palace for himself ("house of cedar" means a palace with expensive wood panelling). I'll look at how God gives a four word speech and then explains in detail what it means. And in the process starts the...
Topics: Bible, 2 Samuel, humour, humor, interpretation
5 Minute Bible
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Luke begins his sequel to the gospel "In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginningâ¦" but his summary ocuses on the resurrection and stresses that it was real. He then reports the risen Jesus telling the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Spirit, who he calls "the promise of the Father" then Jesus echoes the start of the gospel story in Luke 3: John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not...
Topics: E100, Jesus, NT Acts, ascension, Jesus, resurrection
5 Minute Bible
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Just when you begin to wonder if any Bible story is really suitable for simple Sunday School reading, and have begun to suspect that the Bible has no message but: Humans are broken and need mending, humnans are sinful and therefore they keep spoiling God's lovely world and hurting each other. Along comes a story to remind us of another truth... Just as the story of Ruth followed the grime of Judges, so now in 1 Samuel 24 we get a story, set amid the war and political jostling of the beginnings...
Topics: 1 Samuel, Narrative, biblical narrative, Saul, David
5 Minute Bible
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OK this story must be one of the best-known that Jesus ever told, everyone has heard it! And if not (at least if they speak English or French or just about any other European language) they know the main characterâs name â The Good Samaritan. Except that, what we know if we know this, is all wrong! Jesus was a prophet so to understand what heâs doing here we need to remind ourselves how Prophets work. So after a quick recap on prophets we think about what Jesus the prophet is doing when he...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Luke, NT, Narrative, Parable, Prophets, Righteousness
5 Minute Bible
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In this chapter, we get the climax of John's series of sayings where Jesus echoes the divine "I am" cf. Exodus 3 (E100-17: Exodus 3-4: Getting the holy between your toes!), and we also notice how amid powerful people who seem muddled and out of control, Jesus (the one who seems to be the victim) is the only person in control of himself! And weâll discover his secret. Weâll also notice the three betrayals, and ask how we can avoid joining they betrayers.
Topics: E100, Jesus, John betrayal, Peter
5 Minute Bible
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Colossians - like Ephesians and the Pastorals (1 & 2 Tim and Titus) - is often thought to be by someone copying Paul but itâs ideas (and some wording) seem to have been used in Ephesians, which would make it very early if it is not not really by Paul. I cannot understand the excitement over debating back and forward whether Paul wrote it. It is in the Bible, it is addressed a very early church, and has messages that are important for us. What more matters? Our reading starts with the...
Topics: E100 Christ hymn, Christology, Colossians, hymn, letters, Paul
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
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As soon as Christian faith began to spread beyond its first (Jewish) homeland it became a faith based on community sustained by travel and letters. A bit just like blogs and FaceBook today, letters nourished community, and sustained arguments or brought them to peaceful conclusions. The combination of new(ish) technology and Roman roads and sea trade routes caused an explosion of letter writing. The newish technology was papyrus (not new since it was known since 3rd millennium BC but a rival...
Topics: E100, epistle, epistles, letters
5 Minute Bible
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Many people think the Bible is like a hologram, any part of which shows the truth. The practice of scholars, preachers and teachers, of citing single verses or lists of verses to demonstrate something, encourages this view. The claim that the Bible is âinerrantâ in all its parts seems to seal the idea. Yet in the Bible God itself told us in the Bible that it is false!
Topics: bible, job, reading
5 Minute Bible
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Genesis 12 marks the beginning of the real story of the Bible. Chapters 1-11 are a prologue both to Genesis and to the Bible as a whole. They introduced us to "characters" (not least God - singular and with a capital G) and to the central issue that the Bible addresses. In chapter 12 we are introduced to Abraham, the first of the ancestors of the people God chose. Their story will fill the rest of the Old Testament. But also in Gen 12 we have to recognise what an odd choice God made....
Topics: bible, E100, Faith, Genesis, Sin
5 Minute Bible
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My tradition (the Baptist part of the Nonconformist or radical Reformation) has stressed the idea that Scripture is perspicuous, that the Bible is easy to understand, and that anyone can understand it â or at least grasp its essentials â without special training or equipment. Yet there are for sure some difficult passages. There are also passages that seem to flat out contradict other parts of the Bible. How can you call a book like that âperspicuousâ? In this post Iâll argue that one key...
Topics: (ana)Baptist reading, Jesus, Reading, bible, interpretation, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
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In reading (by which I mean understanding, making sense of) these chapters weâll find that noticing unusual details, things that stick out, can be a real clue to what is important. Naming, and not naming, are really significant here, not least that God is not named â oh, Godâs talked about, but âGodâ is a title or description not a name, this âGodâ will get a name in the next chapter⦠Here, too, well find that hearing echoes of other parts of Scripture can be strong clues to meaning....
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, theology, God
5 Minute Bible
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Don't look for happy families in the tales of the ancestors, matriarchs and patriarchs, of God's chosen people. Genesis 27-28 carry the story into the next two generations but present a thoroughly dysfunctional family. Yet Genesis 28 tells also of one of the most dramatic revelations of God and renewal of Godâs promises to this chosen people. These chapters present a powerful reminder that humans are full of and ruled by sin, but that Godâs grace is not thwarted so easily. Image poisonous...
Topics: E100, Genesis, Grace, Sin
5 Minute Bible
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Prayer and Parables This section is a mix of teaching and parables. There is so much to talk about, so Iâll focus on how Jesus teaches: * like a true Jew! * in parables 6:5-8 sounds just like the prophets: true religion is not about what other people think of us, but Jusus is even more deeply theological. Remember the Bible is about God! Like all of Jesus teaching this is radical stuff the whole Christian music industry risks being demolished at a stroke, not to mention using crosses as...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Matthew, Parable, prayer
5 Minute Bible
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There are some technical details to explain: what a "hymn" is (not a long old-fashioned worship song), what it means to "bless God" and the meaning of hesed. But mainly this podcast aims to encourage you to hear the celebration of the creator God who is gracious, even to those who do not deserve it, merciful and above all faithful. It's a beautiful psalm, that expresses how God is not "a god" clearly and sharply, and it just begs us to join in blessing Yahweh!
Topics: psalms, psalm 103, bible, biblical study
5 Minute Bible
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The call of Jeremiah should really have come before the Isaiah reading, as it gives us a good introduction to what a prophet is, and what prophets do. This reading also gives us a clear idea why prophets were often not much appreciated by the people to whom they were sent to proclaim God's message. There is so much one could talk about here, that I will focus mainly on Jeremiah's call and what that tells us about prophets, to help you understand other prophetic books. I will also talk a little...
Topics: Jeremiah, prophet, prophecy, understanding the prophets, Bible, Old Testament
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These two chapters, as well as some (now several millennia later) boring stuff about wells, contsain some of the heights and depths of human experience. A birth to a childless couple, well well after normal childbearing years, and nasty vindictive selfishness. But also an outrageous demand from God, blind obedience and a few hints of something greater to come...
Topics: bible, genesis, e100
5 Minute Bible
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Amos 7:14 is a striking problem for interpreters, not least because what Amos is reported as saying to Amaziah seems to contradict what he is reported to be doing in the rest of the book. This makes it fertile ground for us to incorporate either our presuppositions or rhetoric into the text. (I use the NIV and Grasping Godâs Word) as examples in this but do not intend disrespect for the translators or authors, just to suggest they are human too! Duvall, J. Scott, and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping...
Topics: bible, amos, prophecy, context, reading
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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This post starts to talk about Psalm 22, mentioning Job 10 on the way, we will examine these passages as a way into understanding "complaint psalms". Complaints are the commonest type of psalm in the book of psalms. You might like to listen to my earlier post " Arguing with God: Jer 12:1-4 " first, it sets the scene for this one, and should probably have been called "Complaint psalms: Part One"! I hope the next post - in a few days - will follow up looking some...
Topics: Arguing with God, Complaint, Job, Psalms, lament, biblical studies
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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Hereâs my overview of the E100 plan before I started doing the podcasts.It is mainly concerned with how (and why) they have selected the readings they have. It will be interesting to do another at the end, and compare my impressions of the list of readings âbeforeâ and âafterâ.
Topics: bible, e100, reading, bible overview
5 Minute Bible
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As it does in Luke, Matthewâs account the feeding of the 5,000 follows after Herod speculating that Jesus is John come back to life, but Matthew used this opportunity to tell the gruesome story of Johnâs death. Luke moved quickly from Johnâs death, to tell of the disciplesâ successful mission, whereas Matthew tell us that when Jesus heard of Johnâs death he âwithdrew to a deserted placeâ. Into this low point where we seem focused on the powerful political opposition that miracle comes as...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Matthew, miracles
5 Minute Bible
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This epistle is a bit of a puzzle it presents itself as written by Peter, Jesus' rough practical fisherman disciple, but it is written in smart literary Greek and the style seems to reflect Hellenistic rhetorical training. (As well as the sort of knowledge of Scripture we might expect from Peter!) Perhaps it was written by someone who owed a great debt to Peter or perhaps Peter had help from a ghost-writer â Silvanus (see 5:12) is a frequent candidate. The Bible quotations and allusions pretty...
Topics: 1&2 Peter, E100 epistle, salvation, writing the New Testament
5 Minute Bible
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For this podcast I won't deal with all the interesting questions about multiple demon possession, or even demons in pigs, but will focus on the beginning (and location) and especially the end of the story because they tell us why this story was remembered (though actually the pigs and the multiple demons do make it memorable ;) and why it was told to us. Notice the geography, the story features a boat trip, a reminder of how Jesus ministry (except for the conflicts in Jerusalem and his death)...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Mark, miracles
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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Sometimes a good old-fashioned cliché is the best way to achieve your desired effect, and communicate your theological message. I'll illustrate this using Joshua 11:1-9. The story of how Jabin of Hazor and all his allied kings were defeated by Joshua and Israel. (With some help from their friend!)
Topics: cliche, theology, joshua, narrative, bible
5 Minute Bible
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It's certainly hard to find a superhero in the Bible! Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and even Moses - all fail - though some of them look good the way we try to... by comparison with their neighbours, family or friends think of how Moses shines when compared to Aaron. But Samson! He's super strong, has a fatal weakness, and a secret identity (as a Nazirite :) However in this podcast we'll look closer, and in noticing some details of how the story is told uncover what is really going on ;)
Topics: samson, bible, judges
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
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Despite its title this five has little about the law, and not enough about the covenant (binding agreement) to which this law belongs. The selection of passages (the first time I have strongly differed from the choice made by the organisers) is weighted towards American Evangelical favourite Sunday School stories. Having got that gripe off my chest, we'll notice how in these readings we learn (again) about what it does and does not mean to be God's chosen people. And we will discover more in...
Topics: Exodus, Joshua, law, promised land
5 Minute Bible
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In this podcast we'll notice just how firmly this passage tells us that the miracle at the Reed Sea* was indeed entirely a miracle. We'll notice how good source critics were/are at spotting small discrepancies in texts, but also how little the composers of the Bible seemed to care about detail, concerned with things that matter (relationships, especially and particularly our relationship with God) rather than "facts" which are merely of secondary importance. And, watching and...
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, red sea, reed sea
5 Minute Bible
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Unlike Paul's other letters Philippians seems disjointed which can make it difficult to read. Goodspeed wrote that: In chapter 1 he is making the best of his imprisonment; in chapter 2 he is sending Epaphroditus back to them; in chapter 3 he bursts forth against the Judaizers; in chapter 4 he acknowledges the gift Epaphroditus has brought him. Paul is usually much more orderly than this. Polycarp (c.60-150AD) writing to the Philippians mentions that Paul "wrote letters" (plural) to...
Topics: E100, letters, Paul, Philippians
5 Minute Bible
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In this Genesis chapter 15 God keeps reiterating his promises to Abraham. Wonderful promises! But Abrahamâs replies are less than politely gracious. Which teaches us a thing or two about God :)
Topics: E100, Genesis, bible, promises
5 Minute Bible
- Tim Bulkeley
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This post deals with Jonah 1:1, I excuse this by reference to the new commentary series announced on the first of this month by Eisenbrauns ;-) This 'cast deals with beginnings, and with whether the clues in this verse suggest Jonah is of the genre prophecy or narrative (if you donât understand why this question matters, keep coming back as I'll have a post on "Why genre matters" soon!
Topics: amos, genre, jonah, bible
5 Minute Bible
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In these chapters we see again very strongly that we are not told by the text how to understand people's actions, in these chapters we have to judge Joseph and his brothers, using the knowledge of good, evil and everything in between that is part of our experience as children of Eve and of Adam. And in this reading motives are far from clear cut!
Topics: bible, genesis, e100, narrative, gapping
5 Minute Bible
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OK this story must be one of the best-known that Jesus ever told, everyone has heard it! And if not (at least if they speak English or French or just about any other European language) they know the main characterâs name â The Good Samaritan. Except that, what we know if we know this, is all wrong! Jesus was a prophet so to understand what heâs doing here we need to remind ourselves how Prophets work. So after a quick recap on prophets we think about what Jesus the prophet is doing when he...
Topics: E100, Jesus, Luke, Narrative, NT, Parable, Prophets, Righteousness good Samaritan, Jesus, Luke,...
5 Minute Bible
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This passage was probably chosen because it contains two famous "Bible stories", the Golden Calf (in which a priest does what the people want, and becomes so successful that drunkenness, idolatry and other stupidity reigns) and the time Moses got to see God's backside. But more troublingly it is another passage where God commands and demands killing. I can't offer easy answers, indeed in one 5 minute podcast what did you expect ;) but I will return to these passages and examine the...
Topics: exodus, bible, golden calf, idolatry
5 Minute Bible
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Today's is a grim reading. But such brutality was not unusual in the Ancient Near East. The Assyrians, for example, when they captured the Judean city of Lachish after a siege in 701BC impaled the surviving leaders outside the city, and left a mass grave of 1,500 people (mainly women and children). Despite what one might even see as gentle treatment of the city by the Babylonians in 586, the fall of Jesusalem marked Hebrew thought deeply because it was God's city, their last toehold of...
Topics: 2 Kings, Jerusalem, biblical, narrative, bible study, exile
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
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What else could we call it? God vs. Pharaoh, it's a foregone conclusion â exceptâ¦
Topics: exodus, narrative, biblical studies, theology, God, Yahweh, name of God
5 Minute Bible
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Three great chapters, full of well crafted narrative, with a stirring song thrown in! There is too much detail to notice in the way these stories are told, you'll have to watch for the fun yourselves. In this 'cast I'll focus more on the song, and not so much on its detail as overall how it works. (For more background on this see my Why Read the Bible? Dreams and visions which is part of a longer series of reflections on Lost Treasures of the Bible : reading "from another place":...
Topics: 1 Samuel, Narrative, biblical narrative, Samuel, Hannah
5 Minute Bible
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This chapter gives what it tells us is an eyewitness account of a Roman execution. Jesus, who has done no real wrong, except offend the religious leaders, and worry the politicians is subjested to the casual brutality of an imperial production-line death. Such a death, of an innocent man, is shocking. But Jesus was not merely a man, this was also the death of God, so as Jesus points out to the Roman govenor, Pilate, "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you" John...
Topics: E100, Jesus, John crucifixion, death
5 Minute Bible
- Dr Tim Bulkeley
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"The fall of Israel" is a theological (not historical) title. This five covers almost the whole history of the Israelite kingdoms from David to the destruction of Jerusalem. The Deuteronomistic History (Joshua-Kings) from which they all come (cf. remarks on Judges) tell the story with the end in view, one important goal of these books is to explain the fall of Jerusalem and the exile. So this is a good selection to understand what is going on: 1. Even the great king David is human and...
Topics: bible, david, judah, kings
5 Minute Bible
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Ephesians like Romans and Galatians splits neatly into two parts, with the second giving the practical outworkings of the first. Here opening (chs. 1-4) is "indicative" - it tells us what is - the second (chs. 5-6) is "imperative" - it tells us what to do. The letter has strong similarities to Colossians, some think it is an expansion, filling out the earlier letter. It is written with some long complicated sentences, and uses words and phrases that Paul does not use...
Topics: E100, Ephesians
5 Minute Bible
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Luke 16:1-11 records one of Jesus most puzzling parables. In it he praises an agent who defrauds his boss. What's going on? We reach an uncomfortable conclusion :(
Topics: bible, luke, luke16, parable
5 Minute Bible
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The book of Judges starts badly and gets worse. The end gets completely censored, never read in church, even the Sunday School stories get their naughty bits covered up! The book ends with a slogan in 21:25 " In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit ." Which neatly prepares for the books of Samuel except by the time we reach the end of 2 Kings (even if we are slow learners) we realise that kings are not much better. And that's how Scripture develops in the Hebrew...
Topics: ruth, judges, bible, bible study
5 Minute Bible
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Judges is definitely not suitable for Sunday School reading, the bits that are told are firmly censored, and few of us go back to notice what we are missing. But, if we do, what we find is a book chock full of horrid twisted tales, brutal, brutish and sadly not short. Why? Can such a nasty collection of stories be justified, or should it simply be banned?
Topics: Judges, Narrative, Sex, bible